Monday, July 30, 2012

Th Beach

Anyone who his aquainted with me knows that I love the water, being in, on or around it, prferrably in, there is a populer story my family likes to tell about the first time I saw the ocean that illustrates my eternal love of water: When I was about two my family and I went to New Hapshire to visit family, so my parents took me to see the atlantic ocean, now, it was March and the Atlantic Ocean isn't even close to being warm in March when you're as far north as New Hampshire, but I insisted on attempting to get into the water, despite my parents best efforts I eventually goy myself into that water fully clothed, my dad always says I was blue by the time they got me out, so one of my biggest concerns while I sat in the ICU was whether I'd be able to swim again, most importantly, swim in Lake Michigan with my daughter. Lake Michigan is by farmy favorite body of water that I've encountered during my life, she is playful, welcoming and calming. The beaches along Lake Michigan's West coast line have been places of solace for me over the years and places where some of my most precious memories have been created, so, I was very concerned about if I'd be able to share these special places with Charlotte. I did ask Matt at one point while I was in the ICU if I'd be able to swim in Lake Michigan with her some day and he responded with a confident "yes". Last Sunday my Sister-Law, Nikki was visiting so we got together with Mat's Aunt an d Uncle who live close to the beach and  I prepared for this momentous occasion. We got to the beach and we started walking towards the water, the weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cool, the water was lightly lapping on the beach as it always does, almost welcoming me back and I watched my daughter as she stared out at this large expanse of water. The beach presented some expected challenges, like walking in th sand, never the easiest taks, but a little more difficult with one weak leg, I must say, I think my backyard walks really helped me a lot once I started walking in the sand. I also needed a little help gettin down to the water as thesand went in a shard decline on the way down to the waterside, luckily we've had some really hot weather lately, otherwise the water would have been freezing this time of year, something I was afraid of as the left side of my body is very sensitive to extreme cold, it hurts! So I stood in the water far enough so th waves lapped onto my toes so I could get used to the temperature, then Nikki asked me if I was ready to go in, yes I was, the water was calling to me, all I could think about was how great it would feel if I could run and dive straight in as I normally would and bob and dive, playing in the waves. So we started headin into the deeper water towards my Brother-In-Law, John who had Charlotte Nikki had to hold onto me though because I did not have my leg brace on my left leg my leg was not firmly on th ground so every wave would knock me off balance, an unexpected event, but I didn't let it stop me, I wante to get out as far as I could and float. I have been swimming since I've been old enough to take classes I was also on the swim team in high school, so swimming comes very naturally, my deepest hope was that I would get into the water and Larry would say, "Oh, yeah, I remrmber what to do!"But, alas, the connection between that part of my brain and Larry is completely severed. Once I felt resdy I pudhed myself off of the bottom of the lake and let my body slide sideways in the water, I was not nearly as gracefuk as I normally ammi, but the feeling of floating in that water was divine. at one point I took charlotte in my arm and held her for our first "swim" in the lake together, a dream realized, she sure did think it was funny when I would dunk under the water and pop up, proclaiming, "peek-a-boo!"So while my swimming days mat be a little different than they were, I now know that Charlotte and have many trips to Lake Michigan in our future and I no longer have to worry that I will not be able to shre this special place with her.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hooked On a Feelin'

After a pretty discouraging day yesterday, I decided the key to my salvation was reclaiming one of my favorite pastimes:crocheting. Since this all began my therapists have been working tirelessly to find me a way to crochet, all of the ideas have been very innovative, but frustrating, crocheting used to be as narural to me as breathing and having to think so hard about how to do it frustrated me to the point of throwing it across the room, I admit, I am guilty of giving up when things get too hard, but yesterday I sat myself down and decided I was going to figure out how to do the easiest stitch, the single crochet before I got back up. And I managed to sort out how to use the complex mechanism the therapists at the university'ss clinic came up with and got a couple of stitches done, they were messy, but I figured out how to fix that today, now, I intend to remaster this craft on my own so I can return to my former glory:                                                            

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Machine

You know the machine that Count Rugen hooks Wesley up to in The Princess Bride? It is intended to take years off of his life, but instead sends him back to infancy. Well, my stroke basically did the same thing to me. I have essentially been reset to the beginning of life, having to relearn how to walk, talk and write again and, lately, I'm finding I am back to a second go at adolescence, relearning how to communicate in a rational and non-impulsive way, relearning who I am and becoming comfortable in my skin again and learning how to think critically through any problem I am faced with and figuring out how to be an independent adult again. As I mulled over this issue on my walk today, I wandered through a brief haze of tears and hopelessness, but then I reminded myself that I learned all of those things before, with a minimum amount of scarring and now I get to learn them again, with the hindsight we wish we all had the first time around and no matter how hopeless something seems I refuse to give up on myself, Charlotte deserves better than that. So here I go again....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fall

Somwthing good happened today. A many of you know, I take a daily walk around my backyard to practice balance and to become comfortable walking on uneven terrain. Lately I've been doing two laps around the edge of the yad, which is a decent distance, just to challenge myself.Normally after the first lap I am tired and I have to convince myself I have another lap in me.So, today, at the beginning of my second lap I was making my way up one of the smallish hills as I started to fall, normally I  panic and crash to the ground if I start to tip over but today I stayed calm and controlled the fall, ths means two things:1. I am getting more clear headed 2. My balance and strength are getting better, otherwise I wouldn't be able to control the fall the way I did and catch myself on the way down. Once I was on the ground, I sat on our crunchy, water deprived grass and considered my options. I as on a slope and I thought it would be best to schooch myself to even ground before attempting to get up. Normally when I'm getting upfrom the ground I need to pull myself up on something, like a chair or domething, I had nothing likr that near me, so I consodered calling for help for a second and told myself I was fully capable of getting up on my own and I did  and I finished my d=second lapp of the yard wothout incident. z\this event shows me that I am getting stronger and more confident in my abilities a red letter day if you ask me!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Phoenix

these past few days I've been working through some unresolved issues from my past and in doing this, I've been learning a lot about letting go. Last night I was really thinking about these things and what my life is today and I thought to myelf::" Self, you are exactly where you are supposed to be, your life is perfect the way it is, so I think it's time to forget about allof that over dramatic bullshit that happened forever ago and move on." And I did! And for the first time in years I let go of this thing I'd been clinging to for years, I felt free, calm and happy, today as I thought more about it, I realized that I've been clinging desperatelyonto who I was before the stroke, hoping that woman would magically reappear, but, he's not going to, because who I am now is who I have become through all of this and tonight I realized I am: a phoenix rising from the ashes of a brain injury and I gewt better and more comfortable with who I am today.It is time to stop waiting for someone to reappear who is not here anymore, it's time to get to know who is here now, she's pretty much the same as that other lady I've been waiting for.

Friday, July 6, 2012


This week I am expecting some exciting visitors, one is a friend from High school, some one I always liked, but have become closer to in the age of Facebook, I guess she thinks I'm pretty cool, but I had no idea, I was kind of the odd kid in high school with my bureoning and out spoken feminism.

I l love having visitors, it breaks up the monotony of my days, plus I love watching Carlotte interact with people, I am also a very social person so having someone different to talk to is always exciting, plus it's aways nice to have something to look forward to. My family is also coming into toiwn next weekend. I love seeing them, because, well sometimes I just need my mommy, plus I want to show Charlotte off to them. The thing that disturbed Matt the most while we were in rehab was my reaction to surprise guests. I had a lot of peopl come to see me while I was in rehab, old friends, a couple of regular customers from work, an old professor of mine as well.I loved having guests in rehab, but normally I would have talked their ears off, but I barely acknowledged the fact they were there, behavior that was so out of character for me, it really distressed Matt, I honestly have very fuzzy memories from most of these visits. But what I do remember is not knowing qwhat to say to put my visitor at ease. I could always tell whoever it was was at a loss as to what to say and I was far too tired to come up with some wry quip to break the ice, something lke:"Jeeze, I could have found a better way to get out of doing diapers, right?" So, to any of you who came to see me, it did not go unnoticed, and your visit shone a light on a very dark period of my life, I'm sorry I was so out of it and could not express my extreme pleasure over your prescense. Any way, my point is, I'm very excited to be having so many people coming to vissit me this week and if you ever want to visit, drop in, I love it and I'm much mor lively now!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Facing My Face

When we were at the book signing last week, a woman from the university was there and she was going to write an articlr about the event, so she interviewed me and took some pictures of me and the fam, she sent me the pictures the other day and this is one of them, imagine my dismay at this horrific image of myself, I really felt like I was smiling with my whole mouth at that moment and yesterday, I let it start to get to me, believing myself disfigured and ugly so, last night as I worked on getting ready for bed, I told myself to stop being silly, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and did not see an ugly woman staring back at me, I saw a woman who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl while having a stokeand lived to tell the talr. I saw a woman who gets stronger everyday, both physically and emotionally, and that woman is not ugly, there is nothing ugly about her. I saw all of the lessons I've learne about myself in the last 8 months, I saw all of the great things I have. for the first time in my life I think I actually saw myself, the way others see me and it's a pretty nice view,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Expanding My Horizons

I was planning a blog post based on a similar theme, once again proving that Rob Rob Brezny has caneras hidden in my house:"T=LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Goldfish that are confined in small aquariums
stay small. Those that spend their lives in ponds get much bigger. What
can we conclude from these facts? The size and growth rate of goldfish
are directly related to their environment. I'd like to suggest that a similar
principle will apply to you Librans in the next ten months. If you want to
take maximum advantage of your potential, you will be wise to put
yourself in spacious situations that encourage you to expand. For an extra
boost, surround yourself with broad-minded, uninhibited people who have
worked hard to heal their wounds.he epic breadth of your imagination is
legendary. Is there anyone else who can wander around the world without
ever once leaving your home? Is there anyone else who can reincarnate
twice in the span of few weeks without having to go through the hassle
of actually dying? And yet now and then there do come times when your
fantasies should be set aside so that you may soak up the teachings that
flow your way when you physically venture outside of your comfort zone.
Now is such a moment, my fellow Cancerian. Please don't take a merely
virtual break in the action. Get yourself away from it all, even if it's only
to the marvelous diversion or magic sanctuary on the other side of town."

 My world has become very small since the stroke, a normal day for me consists of waking up, snuggling with my family, doing my exeercises , getting up, getting dressed and going downstairs and setting up shop for the day in front of the TV, searching foe something that sparks my intrest. So when Matt told me he was planning a trip to Tsrget today, I jumped at the chance to go, I don't tend to accompany Mat on his shoppping journeys, I like to give him a chance to wander around the store by himself, not having to worry about where I am and how I'm doing. hoing somewhere like Target can be an overshrlming experience for me:so many thing to look at so many things to consifer, am I keeping up with Matt?( please keep in mind I use my wheelchair on these outings)am I blocking the aile? Am I going to run into someone when I round the corner? The first time we went to Target after I got out of rehab was a mess, I was still so out of it, I was rolling down random aiskes and not paying attention to anything, it was exhausting. but today, I nailed it!I kept up with Mat got out of people's way and went to the bathroom in record time, todat I decided that expanding the scope of my world and challenging myself not only helps me get bwtter, but improves my confidence